Over the past couple of years, Porsche 911 “Safari” off-road conversions have been gaining traction. Of course, enthusiasts knew all along that an official version was coming, and it’s finally been revealed, the new Porsche 911 Dakar, here at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
LA doesn’t have that many debuts, but the 911 Dakar would shine regardless because it is so interesting. And the first thing we noticed was the tires. Almost all modern Porsches are sold with some kind of standard performance tires, but the Dakar is equipped with Pirelli’s Scorpion All Terrain Plus, which are so knobby they’d make even a Prius look tough.
We hear that these are not standard Scorpions and they’ve been made specifically for the size and power of the 911. Pirelli tested these tires to ensure they can handle not only off-road but are comfortable on the road and grip to some extent on the race track. And you know what that means? They’re going to be expensive to replace. As (very expensive) options, Porsche also offers Pirelli snow and summer tires for this car.
The lovely 245/45 ZR19 front and 295/40 ZR20 rear tires have a 102V rating which means they’re good for 150 miles per hour, which is pretty crazy for an off-roader. Though it’s not as crazy as the suspension lift which can work at up to 105 mph. These tires wrap around a very lovely set of Fuchs-style two-done wheels.
Powertrain-wise, the 911 Dakar is basically a Carrera 4 GTS. It’s got the ubiquitous 3.0-liter twin-turbo flat-6 putting out 473 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. That doesn’t sound like much, but Porsches are always quicker than their specs suggest. Power is sent through an 8-speed PDK gearbox to all four wheels, and no, there isn’t a manual option.
Porsche claims the 911 Dakar will do the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 3.2 seconds, making it only a tenth slower than GTS. But the real magic happens once traction ends because this comes with two new drive modes, Rallye and Off-Road. And the launch control has a rally setup that allows for 20% wheel spin on gravel and such.
A few things also stand out in the tech package, because the Dakar comes with GT3-derived engine mounts (obviously, that has a different engine), and rear-wheel steering. Also, the hood is straight from the GT3 as well.
There’s a real sense of attention to detail with this car. The red forged aluminum tow hooks, the fixed-back bucket seats, the stainless guards, they’re all a work of art. With a fixed black wing at the back and a roof rack, this 911 is ready for anything from skiing in Aspen to trips across Mongolia.
Unfortunately, only a few people will get to experience its magic because Porsche will only make 2500 examples of the 911 Dakar. US deliveries will start in spring 2023 with prices beginning at $223,450 including destination. Los Angeles also welcomes the “Rothmans” livery based on the original Dakar-winning cars. Only they’re not calling it Rothmans because smoking is bad; “Roughroads” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.